Best of Bartenders: Oyster Bay

After hearing a series of rave reviews, I had to see Oyster Bay’s brand new, sprawling bar for myself. I took a seat on a comfortable Oyster Bay barstool and was greeted by friendly bartender Tali McCullen. The mastermind behind the signature “Tali’s Favorite Mojito”, I immediately knew I had found this week’s commended cocktail specialist. Tali has been an Oyster Bay employee for 12 years now and has been behind the bar for 11. “But I’ve actually worked at nearly every bar in Cape May,” she jokes. Some of her past gigs include CJ’s of North Cape May (now 5 West Pub), Carney’s, Harpoon Henry’s, and The Ugly Mug. Now, she loves the fine dining atmosphere of Oyster Bay’s home bar. “It’s not late night,” she explains, so she finds the vibe more relaxed and the customers particularly friendly.

A native Cape May resident, Tali attended Hofstra University and later transferred to Stockton College where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Post-grad, Tali spent a few seasons in New Zealand after attending a wedding and finding herself unable to immediately leave her beautiful surroundings. The wedding was actually that of an Olympic equestrian jumper who Tali had met through her personal jumping career. In her down time, Tali spends “all hours of the day” at Hidden Valley Farm of West Cape May tending to her horses “Conrad” and “Country”. She also likes to hang out with friends at Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grill of Cape May’s Beach Avenue and at Two Mile of Wildwood Crest. Catch up with Tali at Oyster Bay’s daily Happy Hour from 4-6:30 and be sure to sample her ingenius original, “Tali’s Favorite Mojito”. Made with muddled blueberries and mint (muddled by Oyster Bay’s very own kitchen staff), simple syrup, and Van Gogh’s Acai Blueberry Vodka, Tali’s Favorite is both fresh and refreshing and perfect for taking the edge off. Oyster Bay plans to remain open year-round this year, offering new specials and live entertainment. Stop by and greet this bartender of the week to find out what is so unique about Tali’s eyes…

By Megan Kummer